Headline News


China issues new legal interpretation to improve coal mine safety

Source: Xinhuanet | 03-02-2007 08:40

BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- China's Supreme People's Court (SPC) and Supreme People's Procuratorate co-issued Wednesday a legal interpretation on penalties for coal mine safety accidents.

"The legal interpretation provides a yardstick for fixing penalties for those who make a fortune out of blood-tainted coal production," said a SPC spokesman.

"We hope the new legal interpretation will help improve safety conditions in coal mines, and accelerate accident reports," he said.

According to the legal interpretation, coal mine bosses as well as de facto owners will be sentenced to imprisonment of up to 3 years, if illegal production leads to accidents killing more than one person or injuring more than three, or causing economic losses of more than one million yuan (about 128,000 U.S. dollars).

Coal mine bosses and de facto owners will face imprisonment of up to seven years if casualties exceed three dead or 10 injured, or economic losses are more than three million yuan.

The legal interpretation also imposes a legal obligation on coal mine bosses, de facto owners and government officials in charge of coal mine management to report mine accidents to authorities in time.

Mine owners, controllers and government officials will face imprisonment of up to seven year if silence, misreporting or delayed reports on mine accidents lead to more casualties or economic losses.

Those responsible for the coal mine accident will receive a penalty reduction if evidence shows that they have "actively organized or participated in rescue operations and damage repair after the accident", according to the legal interpretation.

The legal interpretation also reiterated that government officials are strictly prohibited from investing in coal mines, and that people violating the regulation will be "severely dealt with", it said.

China reported its crude coal output reached 2.325 billion tons in 2006, but 2,945 coal mine accidents occurred killing 4,746 people.

The country has vowed to reduce coal mine accidents by at least a quarter by 2010, according to the 11th Five-year Plan for Coal Mine Production Safety also published on Wednesday.


Editor:Du Xiaodan